A spokesperson of the North Korean Foreign Ministry on Saturday backed China’s controversial security legislation for Hong Kong, calling it a “legitimate step” and voicing opposition to “outside interference”.

In an answer to a question from the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the spokesperson also said that any country has no right to “say this or that” about the issue concerning the semiautonomous Chinese territory, reports Yonhap news Agency.

On Thursday, China’s legislature approved a proposal for the security law legislation, which critics fear could pave the way for Beijing to tighten its grip on Hong Kong and weaken the territory’s autonomy by bolstering security operations there.

“It is a legitimate step that China has adopted a decision for establishing and perfecting a legal system and an enforcement mechanism based on the Constitution of China and the Basic Law of Hong Kong,” the spokesperson was quoted by KCNA as saying.

“Since Hong Kong issue is an issue pertaining thoroughly to the internal affairs of China, any country or force has no rights to say this or that about the issue. We categorically oppose and reject the outside interference detrimental to the security and the social and economic development of Hong Kong,” the official added.

China pressed ahead with the legislation despite the US warnings that it could revoke Hong Kong’s trade privileges.

The legal push is expected to further escalate geopolitical tensions, posing a tricky diplomatic challenge to countries, like South Korea, that want to maintain good ties with both major powers, said the Yonhap News Agency report.